Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | 8:33 AM
On the Google Maps for mobile team we're always experimenting with new technologies, so we're happy to announce that we've started testing voice search as a new feature. Starting today, you can speak your business query instead of typing it on a select group of BlackBerry devices (Pearl 8110, 8120, and 8130, US only). Voice search in Google Maps uses the same speech recognition engine as GOOG-411, our free directory assistance service.
Using your voice to search for businesses is super useful in situations when you can't type, when the name of the business is long, or when you're not sure how to spell it. In other situations -- when you're in a library or a rock concert, for example -- typing makes more sense. Keeping that in mind, we designed this feature to allow you to choose whether to speak or type. Get it now on your BlackBerry Pearl by visiting http://m.google.com/maps on your mobile phone, or learn more here.
Using voice search is as simple as 1, 2, 3:
- Press "0" to center the map view around your location
- Press the left-side key and hold it while you say the name or type of business you're looking for (for example, "pizza")
- When you're done speaking, release the left-side key, and our voice recognition technology will figure out your request and find the business you've been looking for, no typing needed.
This feature is experimental, which means a couple of things. First, similar to other voice-recognition technologies, the accuracy of voice recognition will improve over time as more people use the voice search feature. Second, the feature is currently only supported on 8110, 8120 and 8130 BlackBerry Pearl models in the US. Third, we'd love to get your feedback on it -- feel free to leave your comments below.
Update (8/12/08): we've been busy fixing bugs and adding support for BlackBerry 8100, so now voice search works on all Pearl devices. Hopefully, this will resolve any issues some of you might have had before. You can check out the updated version from any BlackBerry Pearl device in the US -- point your mobile browser to http://m.google.com/maps